Started in 2018, the mission of the UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute is to advance communication and education about Earth systems science — air, water, land, and life — in Florida, and beyond.  

What is Earth systems science? The study of the interactions among air, water, land, and life on Earth, and how these systems are influenced by human activities.  

Intrinsically connected, these systems affect one another and result in global change that profoundly impacts the future of our planet. Only by understanding the way the Earth’s systems interact, will we be poised to fully understand the ways human activity affects the natural environment in which we live.

Centered at the Florida Museum of Natural History, the UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute will harness the research discoveries of faculty and students from participating colleges at the University of Florida that will help influence legislation and foster new research with global implications.

Using innovative communication and technology, these discoveries will be made available to K-12 educators, community scientists, and various interested public and private stakeholders. Likewise, through general education courses in Florida’s natural systems and related topics, undergraduates will have the opportunity to graduate from UF empowered to make decisions that directly affect the future of Florida’s natural systems, and beyond.

Meet our Faculty Fellows

Meet the donors

Jon and Beverly Thompson
Jon and Beverly Thompson

This Institute is the vision of Jon and Beverly Thompson of Ft. Myers, Florida, and will now be realized thanks to their generous gift to the UF Foundation. Mr. Thompson, a University of Florida alum (BS and MS, geology), is the former President of Exxon-Mobil Exploration Company. As a retired teacher, Beverly (MEd) continues to pursue her passion for K-12 education, which will shape the next generation of scientists.

The Thompsons are grateful to UF for “making an impact on their lives” and for the opportunity to continue a legacy of science education within a world-class institution.